LINGERIE retailer Figleaves posted the first profit in its 13-year history – after widening its range to include pyjamas and swimwear.
The online firm, whose website attracts 1.2m visitors a month, was founded in 1998 by Daniel Nabarro, who studied electrical engineering at Cambridge.
It was bought by catalogue and online shopping group N Brown two years ago for £11.5m.
Despite its popularity, it racked up nothing but losses until last year when it scraped a £200,000 surplus, compared to losses of £1.7m.
Its turnaround was driven by a “radical” cost cutting drive and a 20% rise in its own brand sales, helped by branching out into menswear, swimwear and pyjamas.
Figleaves boosted Manchester-based N Brown’s performance, helping it lift pre-tax profits by 2.5% to £96.9m in the year to March 3, on sales up 4.8% to £753.2m.
There was also a 50% rise in sales at Jacamo – which is aimed at larger 30-something men – with a new range backed by former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff selling well.
Menswear brand High & Mighty significantly reduced its losses and its Simply Be brand for larger ladies expanded in the USA.
The success of these brands drove a 13% increase in sales to customers between the ages of 30 and 50.
But sales to customers over 50 increased just 1% as many of them have fixed incomes and were particularly badly hit by rising food and energy costs.
The group said its “robust” performance was helped by lower prices and more special offers.